A recollection from David Toop...
What I remember of gigs like this one - the mid-post-ambient period you might say, which was after chill out rooms but preceding the pre-pandemic live situation in which people listen with great respect and closeness - is that audiences came not specifically to be audiences but to socialise, to drink and smoke (this was before the indoor smoking ban), to talk and to be in proximity to music that was experimental within the ambient, electronica and beats field. In certain respects that was exciting but it could make life hard for performers. Basically you were fighting for attention with a high noise floor of chatter, which obviously predetermined certain aspects of the music. Faint or fantastically detailed were both impossible. When we played this gig I had been working on my Black Chamber LP and so I can hear many of those sounds. At the time I was trying to work out the technical and conceptual problems of how to change my performance approach, all of which bring back a particular moment in time. This trio was very compatible, socially and musically, and it gives me a lot of pleasure to be able to hear that togetherness through the music.
A diary entry from Robin Rimbaud...
Thursday 16 January 2003
“Tried to work on music today but it simply wasn’t moving on at all. I made three pieces with Reaktor that I ended up using tonight at the show but otherwise it felt like rather a failure. Packed all our things up and set off to Farringdon to Sprawl at the Lighthouse. Such a tiny place, not sure that I actually like a smoky, crowded bar but it worked out extremely well. Soundcheck was just chaotic. David, Lawrence and I could barely hear one another. The performance itself later on was surprisingly fluid and beautiful. We all agreed that it had worked surprisingly well. Sound system was grungy BUT somehow we were able to overcome this and make a rather elegant piece of work’.
A note from Lawrence English...
In 2002, I had the pleasure to invite David Toop and Scanner (Robin Rimbaud) to Australia, to take part in the REV festival at the Brisbane Powerhouse. During that visit we recorded a piece called A Picturesque View, Ignored alongside my friends Heinz Riegler and Tam Patton (we performed at that time as I/O3).
Early the following year, I set out for what was my first series of international performances. In December 2002 I performed at Tokyo’s Offsite Gallery, and a week later I found myself in the UK where I reconnected with both David and Robin. Apart from some wonderful discussions and meals shared over those crisp winter days, we also joined for a performance as part of the Sprawl series, an electronic music event programmed by Douglas Benford.
I am positive each of us maintain very different memories of that evening. Mine are no doubt somewhat coloured by my bewilderment of performing in London with two folks I held in the highest regard. In that moment it felt like something utterly unthinkable.
Having had cause to revisit the recording earlier this year, I was teleported back to this period with a sense of force. Sharing the work with David and Robin, I think we were all struck by the recordings character and the exchange. It captures a each of us at a very particular moment in our creative lives. A simple encounter that has held its relevance over the decades.
released October 2, 2020
Recorded live at Sprawl, Farringdon, Thursday January 16 2003
Available commercially for the first time since its initial 1991 release, Spiegel’s fantastic “intelligent instrument” album testifies to the power of an artist who pushed the boundaries of electronic music to unexplored territory. Bandcamp Album of the Day Jan 11, 2019
With the entanglement and interaction of noise and musical tone, we seem to have traveled through the jungle infested by ghosts, and witnessed a new universe being reborn in this strange chaos and harmony. Through this recording, Jim O’Rourke reconstructed the order of sound in a sense. alain.proust